Assessing individual differences in proneness to shame and guilt: development of the Self-Conscious Affect and Attribution Inventory

J Pers Soc Psychol. 1990 Jul;59(1):102-11. doi: 10.1037//0022-3514.59.1.102.


Individual differences in proneness to shame and proneness to guilt are thought to play an important role in the development of both adaptive and maladaptive interpersonal and intrapersonal processes. But little empirical research has addressed these issues, largely because no reliable, valid measure has been available to researchers interested in differentiating proneness to shame from proneness to guilt. The Self-Conscious Affect and Attribution Inventory (SCAAI) was developed to assess characteristic affective, cognitive, and behavioral responses associated with shame and guilt among a young adult population. The SCAAI also includes indices of externalization of cause or blame, detachment/unconcern, pride in self, and pride in behavior. Data from 3 independent studies of college students and 1 study of noncollege adults provide support for the reliability of the main SCAAI subscales. Moreover, the pattern of relations among the SCAAI subscales and the relation of SCAAI subscales to 2 extant measures of shame and guilt support the validity of this new measure. The SCAAI appears to provide related but functionally distinct indices of proneness to shame and guilt in a way that these previous measures have not.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Affect*
  • Female
  • Guilt*
  • Humans
  • Individuality*
  • Internal-External Control
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Male
  • Personality Inventory*
  • Psychometrics
  • Self Concept*
  • Shame*